Tornado outbreak underway across southern U.S., with 40 million at … – Axios

Map showing the areas at risk for a severe weather outbreak, with red inidcating the "moderate risk" area. (NOAA/FEMA)
A significant outbreak of severe thunderstorms, including a "few strong tornadoes," is unfolding for the Mississippi Valley, mid-South and parts of the Southeast Tuesday into Tuesday night.
Threat level: The storm threat is highest — at "moderate risk" or a level 4 out of 5 on the National Weather Service's (NWS) scale — in Mississippi. About 40 million people across the South are at risk for severe weather from this event, per the National Weather Service.
The latest: In Mississippi, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office told WTVA-TV that they've received reports of people trapped and structural damage from a suspected tornado approximately 13 miles north of Columbus, but could not yet confirm injuries. The trapped individuals were later reported as being freed.
The National Weather Service has extended its "Particularly Dangerous Situation" tornado watch for southeast Arkansas, northeast Louisiana and central Mississippi through 2 am CT. The watch was originally meant to expire at 7 pm CT.
The big picture: The Weather Service is highlighting the threat for tornadoes, very large hail and damaging straight-line winds for parts of Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, Indiana, Missouri and Ohio.
Between the lines: Wind shear is a key ingredient for tornado formation, and the NWS notes that the tornado threat will be highest across Mississippi, possibly extending into surrounding states.
Context: While tornado season traditionally runs during the spring and summer months, there is a fall tornado season in the Southeast, and in years like this one when a La Niña is present in the tropical Pacific Ocean, the South and Southeast can be prone to tornado outbreaks well into the winter.
Editor's note: This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.


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